Photo Credit: Jerry McBride—Durango Herald

Photo Credit: Jerry McBride—Durango Herald

You've probably heard the recent news of the contamination of the Animas River. The EPA was reportedly doing some clean up work and caused a spill of over 3 million gallons of toxic mine waste water into our river. 

A huge orange plume of contaminated water made its way down through Durango, leaving sediment and solids behind. The content is believed to be mostly metals such as iron, manganese, lead and other scary stuff like mercury and arsenic. 

This is of course devastating to the community on so many levels. I'd say everyone who lives in Durango appreciates our natural beauty and environment. There are over 1,000 water wells that are affected, numerous irrigation ditches that serve our farms and livestock, and of course City of Durango pulls water from the Animas daily- an estimated 5+ million gallons. Currently they've taken measures to close off the ditches and City water system and pull water from other sources but that means strict conservation for in-town residents. 

Who will be accountable to the farmers and ranchers, raft companies, fly fishermen who have hundreds of employees and currently zero income? Who will be accountable to the residents of Durango who rely heavily on this life blood for recreation, tourism, and drinking water? What about the communities downstream, like the Navajo Nation and Lake Powell and the Colorado River?

This is a very devastating event that I believe will take years to recover. I would say a couple positives have come out of this: 

1. An amazing amount of people in our community are concerned and making their voices heard. 

2. This sheds some light on an issue that has been ongoing for years. There are hundreds of mines north of Durango that need to be cleaned up. Our river has been polluted before. Hopefully this event will bring some awareness to getting things cleaned up. 

3. This is a good reminder how precious our Earth is and how much we need to appreciate it and not take it for granted. We choose to live in a beautiful community and it's important we take care of it. 

While there are many unknowns at this point, and we have very little information from the EPA regarding how bad this really is and how this will all be cleaned up, here are some resources for more information. 

Background story- Very informative! This is not a new issue.

Listen to Past Community Meetings

Listen to the most recent community meeting:

Stay up to date with future meetings by visiting the La Plata County Website:

Sign a Petition to hold the EPA responsible for their actions. Not sure how valuable this is, they did admit fault, but as a government agency how are they going to hold themselves accountable?

I'm keeping hope that things are not as bad as they could be and we find a way to resolve things soon. 

I'll keep you posted!